During the late 17th century, religious persecution drove many French Huguenots to leave Europe and settle in America. The chief Huguenot city of the period was La Rochelle, on France’s Atlantic coast. So, naturally, when a new community was founded at the edge of Long Island Sound in 1688, it was given the name New Rochelle.

Since then, New Rochelle and La Rochelle have maintained a relationship that waxes and wanes, depending upon interest, volunteer support, and the general spirit of the times.

Today, we are very fortunate to benefit from the work of a volunteer Sister City Committee that organizes cultural exchanges, an annual Bastille Day celebration, even a recent visit from the Mayor of La Rochelle. In the year ahead, a trip to La Rochelle is planned. (Alas, I won’t be able to go myself.)

The Sister City Committee, led by former New Rochelle City Manager Peter Korn, is seeking additional membership. If you are interested in New Rochelle’s history, fascinated by French culture, or simply enjoy the fun that comes from forging trans-Atlantic bonds, then please get in touch with the Committee by emailing sistercitynr@gmail.com.